2013 was also supposed to be the year that brought clarity as to whether or not single event sports betting would be legalized in Canada, a change that has been requested by nine provinces. Bill C-290, which had been unanimously approved by the House of Commons, has been in the Senate since March 2012. Unfortunately, the Bill has been held at Third (final) Reading in the Senate by a small group of senators opposed to the change.
Which brings me to the characterization of 2013 being the year of the groundhog. Most of you have seen the movie Groundhog Day, wherein Bill Murray finds himself caught up in an endless time loop – the situation that both OLG modernization and Bill C-290 seem to have been trapped in. We can only hope that in 2014 the loop will be broken.
For Ontario Modernization this will mean release of the names of the parties short-listed pursuant of the RFPQ processes, quickly followed by Requests for Proposals (RFP) from qualified developers and operators. Overhanging the process is a potential provincial election in 2014 should the existing minority government be defeated.
With regards to sports betting, we expect that the Bill will be finally dealt with in the Senate and pass. Should this happen, look for provincial lottery and gaming corporations to offer sports betting in a variety of forms, including in casino sports books, online and potentially on mobile devices.
Finally, I’d like to wish everyone safe and happy holidays and a prosperous New Year. For me – all I want for Christmas is real progress in 2014.